The air was still and cold. The fog hadn't receded from earlier that morning and it weaved between the trunks of trees, making everything difficult to see. Jack shivered in his hiding spot, the vapours of fog settling on his skin and freezing him. He rubbed his hands together and blew into his palms to keep warm.
What kind of day was this to go hunting?
Jack shrugged at the thought. So long as the King made an appearance, it would be enough for him.
This waiting, planning and freezing cold would all be worth it.
He heard the clip-clop, clip-clop sound of a horse's footfall, and the lighter footsteps of several men. Damn, this blasted fog! They could be anywhere. Jack shifted his position and listened intently to the footsteps, trying to discern their location by the sound. He rose from his hiding place and climbed up a tree to escape the interminable fog. Jack sat perched, now able to spot the faded shapes of the King and his hunting party. A smile broadened on Jack's lips and he moved from tree to tree to get closer to King Phillip the Fair, condemner of Templars, murderer of his uncle. Jack noticed a guard separate from the group - probably to take a piss - and Jack dropped down on him swiftly, ending the man's life with a blade in his neck. Jack got up from his place and kept the King and his men in view. It wouldn't be long before the guards noticed their missing comrade, so Jack had to be quick about this.
The horse reared up in shock all of a sudden.
Before Jack could think, the group split up into panicked chaos. The King tried to soothe his deranged mount but the animal kept flailing in fear and galloped straight for Jack. He rolled out of the way, one of the horse's hooves clipping him on the side of his head. He gasped and touched the area. His hand came away bloody, but he brushed it off on his clothes and got up. A guard spotted him and Jack drew his sword.
So much for being stealthy.
The guard came running at him, sword raised high, but Jack deflected his first blow and dodged out of the way to avoid a second attack. He stabbed the guard in his side, making the man stumble, before he sliced down on the guard's back. The man lay still in an increasing pool of gore. Jack rushed into hiding as more guards came to investigate the commotion.
“He's around here somewhere,” said one of them, “Find him, and whatever you do - don't let him get near the King.”
Jack took notice of the guard making a subtle gesture with his head. It was enough. So, King Phillip was still here? How convenient for Jack. He used the ample bushes and trees, and the fog, to mask his approach but located his target - lying broken on the ground, moaning over his injury after falling from his mount. Two guards stood by him. Jack weighed a small stone in his hand and threw it at a guard. The man cursed, looked around, and then walked off in the direction from which he thought the stone had come from. Jack approached the second guard and slit his throat from behind.
“Oi!” cried the first guard, but Jack pulled a dagger from his belt and threw it clean into the man's shoulder. He took a few brisk steps towards the man and dispatched him. The King was calling for more guards, but Jack hauled him up and pulled him away, eventually wrapping a cloth tightly around King Phillip's mouth.
He leaned the royal against a tree and looked at the man's face with hatred.
“The Templars aided you,” Jack said, “they gave you money for your campaigns and your re-growth. But you never meant to pay them back, did you? You wanted a hold over the papacy, like so many before you. So you aided the Assassins in purging us from Europe, from the face of the Earth if you could, and pressured the Pope into condemning our Order under claims so ludicrous, Satan himself would envy you,” Jack held the King's throat, “My uncle was the greatest man I had ever known and you gave him the most painful, despicable, dishonourable death a man could ever receive. The heathen Mohammadans in the East, in our Holy Lands are far better than you,” Jack drew his sword and cut the King's throat. He watched the blood burble down the man's silk robes, his life spilling out in a red mess upon his pristine clothing. Jack shut the man's eyes and laid him to rest on the ground. Someone would find him eventually, he decided, and got up to leave.
When he felt a sharp pain in his back.
Jack mouth fell open in shock as his body lost its strength and was laid next to the King's, and Jack looked up into the face of his co-conspirator. The man with two different eye colours.
“Why...?” Jack asked, his voice small and weak, “Why... did you do this?”
“Lay to rest here,” the man said to Jack as the light faded from him and his vision began to dull, “I will no longer be troubled by Assassins, nor Templars. Not in this era, anyway.”